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Lecture Outline Components of Language Development Theoretical Perspectives on Language Development Nativist Evidence and Criticisms Interactionist

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Lecture Outline Components of Language Development Theoretical Perspectives on Language Development Nativist Evidence and Criticisms Interactionist Evidence and Criticisms. Components of Language Development Phonological Development

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Presentation Transcript
slide1
Lecture Outline
  • Components of Language Development
  • Theoretical Perspectives on Language Development
    • Nativist
      • Evidence and Criticisms
    • Interactionist
      • Evidence and Criticisms
slide2
Components of Language Development
  • Phonological Development
    • Acquisition of knowledge about the sound system of a language
      • Phonemes: The smallest sound units that distinguish meaning
        • Ex: rake and lake differ by one phoneme (/r/ versus /l/)
slide3
Syntactic Development
    • The learning of the syntax (grammar) of a language
      • Syntax: Rules in a language that specify how words from different categories (nouns, verbs, adjectives, etc.) can be combined
slide4
Semantic Development
    • Learning the system for expressing meaning in a language, including word learning
slide5
Pragmatic Development
    • Acquiring knowledge about how language is used (cultural rules)
slide6
Nativist Perspectives on Language Development
  • Universal Grammar: A set of highly abstract, unconscious rules that are common to all languages (Noam Chomsky)
    • Unique to humans
slide7
Evidence Consistent with Nativist Perspectives:
  • Children master language with little explicit training
    • Non-human primates require extensive training to master the most basic language skills
    • Although some non-human primates may combine symbols, they do not show evidence of using syntax
  • Indicates that only humans can acquire language and also suggests that innate factors are involved in language development
slide8
Evidence (con’t):
  • Certain areas of the brain appear to be specialized for language
    • Left hemisphere of cerebral cortex
      • Hemispheric specialization is present in infancy—suggests that innate factors are involved in language development
slide9
Evidence (con’t):
  • Appears to be a “critical” period for language acquisition:
    • Critical period: Time during which language develops readily and after which language acquisition is much more difficult and less successful
      • Suggests that innate factors are involved in language development
slide10
Evidence for “critical period”:
    • Brain damage is more likely to result in permanent language impairment if it occurs in adulthood than if it occurs in childhood
slide11
Less hemispheric specialization occurs when a second language is learned at 4 years or older than if it is learned earlier
slide12
Knowledge of grammar is related to the age at which individuals begin learning a second language, not the length of their exposure to the language
    • Individuals exposed earlier show greater knowledge as adults
slide13
Evidence Consistent with Nativist Perspectives

(con’t):

  • Congenitally deaf children whose parents are not proficient in sign language:
    • Develop larger vocabularies (gestures) than their parents
    • Spontaneously impose syntax (grammatical structure) when signing
  • Suggests that innate factors are involved in language development
slide14
Criticisms of Nativist Perspectives:
  • Universal grammar common to all languages has not been identified
  • Focus on syntactic development and neglect other aspects of language development
  • Ignore role of social environment in language development
slide15
Interactionist Perspectives on Language Development
  • Language development is strongly influenced by children’s motivation to communicate with others
  • Because of this motivation, they pay attention to “clues” in language and the social context in which language is used
    • Allows them to master language
slide16
Evidence Consistent with Interactionist Perspectives:
  • Children show sensitivity to a variety of “clues” in language and the social context in which language is used
slide17
Fast Mapping:
    • Process of rapidly learning a new word when a familiar and unfamiliar word are contrasted
      • Ex: “chromium” and “red”
slide18
Linguistic Context
    • Grammatical form of a novel word influences children’s interpretation of it
      • Ex: “sibbing” vs. “a sib” vs. “some sib”
slide19
Syntactic Bootstrapping
    • Inferring the meaning of a word based on the grammatical structure of the sentence in which it is used
      • Ex: “The duck is kradding the rabbit”

OR

“The duck and rabbit are kradding”

slide20
Pragmatic Cues
    • Aspects of the social context that are used to infer the meaning of words
      • Children use direction of gaze or other gestures to learn word meanings
        • Will assign a new word to the object that an adult is looking at when saying the word (even if the child cannot see the target object)
      • Intentionality/Emotional Reactions of the speaker
        • Ex: “Let’s find the gazzer!”
slide21
Criticisms of Interactionist Theories
  • Language is too complex to be learned only by paying attention to “clues” available in language and the social context in which it is used
    • The evidence of children’s sensitivity to “clues” involves mainly semantic development, not syntactic development
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